Blue Startups started in 2013, which works with companies on the Pacific Rim. Prior to founding Blue Startups, Chenoa was into Angel Investing for almost 20 years.
Although a very small state, Hawaii has its fair share of tech startups although the island is not known for such entrepreneurship. Hawaii is like a transition spot, where East meets West.
A lot of tech companies that stem from the island are – not surprisingly – catering to the tourism industry. Much work is also being done in the energy sector as the state depends heavily on fossil fuels.
Blue Startups was set up as an “Economic Development Effort.” According to what Chenoa had to share, “Military and tourism has become stagnated in Hawaii and intellectual property based companies, is a good direction for us. We are obviously very motivated to work on innovations to be exported out of Hawaii with the push of a button.”
Building a tech ecosystem essentially from scratch takes time. “You often go through experience – 2 steps forward, 1 step backward in that journey – so there are a lot of obstacles.”
She believes that although there may be many challenges faced within the state, there are still several assets that can be leveraged as well.
When asked if there was anything she would like to share with her younger self, she emphatically stated, “Be patient would probably be the main thing I would want my younger self to know.”
Over the years she believes that Blue Startups has evolved through introspecting on their core operations. She has seen how the landscape has changed for accelerators, with starting out with a handful to blooming in the thousands across nations. With more competition “you have to be more specific about your strengths and (what) your value is.”
Blue Startups has now moved away from the regimented 12-month educational model to a more studio setting where, companies are helped with hands on help in development rather than just advice.
“Advice is great, but help is better.”
Coming to the concept of remote employment, Chenoa was all in favor of it. “We encourage a lot of our companies to work with remote workers because talent is an issue here in Hawaii; because, of a small population size…so instead of have companies move, we encourage them to hire remotely instead.”
“It takes a little work for the system to be set in place but it can be effective,” is what Chenoa had to say about the challenges faced when going remote. “If you are willing to do that you are not limited by the population that is right next to you; but you have broader options in the world.”
Chenoa goes on to emphasize the importance of company culture and how it has to be incorporated regardless of where the team is at. She shared a couple of amazing examples of how companies in their portfolio manage to create that company culture and set a system that creates a sense of belonging to the main team.
Digital nomads will increase for sure in Chenoa’s opinion. And that is how she wrapped up her podcast.
Hear more of the amazing things she had to share with our Co-Founder in her podcast with us. We will be right back with more!